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Flower Power offers new way for dispensaries to accept payment

A graphic with funky text and marijuana leaves, used for Collegian Cannabis Coverage.
(Graphic Illustration by Falyn Sebastian | The Collegian)

Flower Power Botanicals is the first dispensary in the Fort Collins area to accept cryptocurrency as payment, an alternative to the usual cash or debit card transactions.

Cory Mitchell, Flower Power operations manager, views cryptocurrency as a welcome alternative. The steep fees on debit card transactions are often an obstacle both dispensaries and customers have to deal with.

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“I wanted a cheaper alternative that wouldn’t impact our customers — give them another option other than just cash — while also allowing us to not be penalized via transaction fees,” Mitchell said.

The cannabis industry has a tumultuous history with traditional banking institutions, and cryptocurrency presents a more streamlined way to conduct transactions. Because cannabis is still categorized by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule I drug, banks are hesitant to do business in the industry.

I was prepping for the long term, where people are doing home delivery and don’t want to use their debit card. It’s just another avenue to allow customers more choices.” –Cory Mitchell, Flower Power operations manager

The SAFE Banking Act of 2021 aimed to prohibit penalizing banks that provide services to “legitimate” cannabis-related companies. The act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, but its future as a law is still uncertain. This continues to put cannabis businesses in the risky realm of cash-only transactions, making crypto a viable alternative.

If a Flower Power customer chooses to use cryptocurrency, the process is quick and relatively simple. The dispensary conducted its first successful crypto transaction this past Sunday, Mitchell said.

“Our crypto system takes 15 seconds: (They) scan a QR code; it links to (their) wallet; they can pay and have a confirmation that the transaction was successful,” Mitchell said.

Cryptocurrency can make things easier for the customer while ensuring secure transactions and minimal fees. The customer has a crypto wallet, which can come in the form of an app or a physical device somewhat like a USB stick, according to the Coinbase website. The crypto wallet stores the customers’ private keys, which then give them access to their cryptocurrency. 

The dispensary currently accepts seven different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. These are all popular coins that are accepted by most major crypto wallets and exchanges. 

Flower Power is partnered with crypto merchant ForumPay, which owns its own cryptocurrency exchange. This provides a safer way to do business, Mitchell said.

“There’s no volatility risks, and they’re instantaneous live transactions where the price is real-time,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is also thinking of where the cannabis industry is headed in the future in relation to Flower Power’s use of cryptocurrency. 

“I know the home delivery service will come in Northern Colorado eventually,” Mitchell said. “I was prepping for the long term, where people are doing home delivery and don’t want to use their debit card. It’s just another avenue to allow customers more choices.”

Lindsay Barker can be reached at lbarker@collegian.com or on Twitter @lindsaybarkerj.

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About the Contributor
Falyn Sebastian
Falyn Sebastian, Digital & Design Managing Edtior
After becoming a page designer as a sophomore, Falyn Sebastian evolved from print editor to design director and has now officially begun her new position as digital and design managing editor. Originally from the Big Island of Hawaii, she chose to attend Colorado State University to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in graphic design along with a minor in entrepreneurship. When it comes to arranging content in The Collegian's newsprint, Sebastian formats and arranges the visual media that readers love in a physical copy. After attending content and budget meetings with the editors of each desk, she manages how each week's visual content fits into the paper by clicking through Adobe InDesign. With a combination of original photos, illustrative graphics and advertisements, Sebastian organizes and delegates tasks to her talented and ever-growing design team. As a graphic design student, journalism was not a field Sebastian intended to work in during college, but she embraced the world of publication design through The Collegian. As graphic design focuses on the importance of effective communication, she realized she was truly designing for a fulfilling purpose. Student media will forever have a happy home in her heart. Working with other students who are passionate about what is happening in their community drives her to continue working on impactful design. Sebastian looks forward to what is yet to come while gaining new experience and memories with her staff.

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